The things customers will do.
The past few months have moved at a blistering pace. The restaurant has never been more popular.
Customers are booking five to six weeks in advance. It all feels a little too fancy and almost too good to be true.
As Sydneysiders clamber over the mountains to source the whares of Orange businesses a few of them are leaving a little too last minute to be satisfied.
Orange only has so much accommodation, eateries, cafes and pubs, a weird thought for many locals who 12 months ago would have laughed at you if you had of told them Orange doesn't have enough of any of those to keep tourists happy.
But perhaps now it doesn't.
At 4pm on a Saturday afternoon a lady with an excessively large brimmed hat, more concerned with the Hefe filter on her phone, canters into the restaurant.
'Can I have a table tonight for four customers at 6pm? I tried booking online but it must not be working, no times were coming up.'
'So sorry but we are fully booked'.
Her pose in front of the large wine rack with her phone pointed at her face, trying to angle it just ever so correctly is interrupted.
Shock and horror have replaced the duck pouting facial recreations. 'What do ... you ... you're fully booked?'
The story is all to common.
'Where am I meant to go now, I was just at (insert winery name) and they told me to try here? Where else should I go? Are you sure you're booked out?'
Of course, we recommend them a plethora of many of the other fine eateries in Orange to try, but the odds aren't good, neither is their temperament as they quickly move from Intstagraming to googling.
Phone call after phone call the same response, if the other restaurants even have the time to pick up the phone as they prep madly for what is going to be a massive service for them ahead.
'Sigh. What am I supposed to do? I have driven all the way from Sydney and everywhere is booked out?'
'So sorry we are full all through service, we book out weeks in advance, especially for these weekend services'David Collins
At this point I'm starting to feel a little concern for them, you want to help, but truth is there isn't much you can do.
'How about I put you on a waiting list, if someone doesn't make it we will give you a call straight away?'
'[Pause] I guess, what about early, or even late ... we are happy to eat then?'
At this time I am starting to get a little concerned that perhaps the lady doesn't think I am very competent with the restaurants booking system.
'So sorry we are full all through service, we book out weeks in advance, especially for these weekend services'.
Then with almost military parade-like precision she spins on her heels and marches out the door, with a huff a toe, we have already disappointed someone today and dinner service hasn't started.
Don't get me wrong, it's better than the alternative I remind myself.
My thoughts drift off wondering what could be done to better prepare people before they venture west.
It is soon interrupted by the phone, 'hello just wondering, if you have room for a table of 10 tonight?'
David Collins is the restaurant manager and sommelier at Charred, he has been studying wine and the wine industry for several years and will write a wine column for the Central Western Daily every second Saturday.
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